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Fossils, Gemstones and other interesting sites in canberra

By Peter Holland - 17 July 2008 31

After putting in a few comments about lapidary (does not involve dancing) or as we like to be known, Rock Hounds, I was wondering if there were any sites that people know about in the Canberra region? Fossils have been mentioned in the Mugga Lane Zoo post, but what else is there around here? I know of several sites for rubies (bredbo) Sapphires (wee jasper) and Opal (not precious), but are there any other sites that you know of or would like to find out more about this hobby?

Drives away the winter blues, cutting stone takes concentration, but the results are well worth it.

What’s Your opinion?


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31 Responses to
Fossils, Gemstones and other interesting sites in canberra
Thumper 10:49 am 18 Jul 08

That’s a rather irrelevant question as any protected cultural site can be damaged given there is no physical security.

Remember I am talking protected sites, not just good sites to fossick or dig up the odd fossil.

And if it is protected then frankly no-one should be removing cultural material.

peterh 10:43 am 18 Jul 08

Thumper said :

Nah, I was just pointing some things out 😉

I’d hate to see sites ruined by over zealous collectors.

Not that I think anyone here would be over zealous.

okay thumper, what sites are you aware of that people can go to and collect “samples” without damaging potential cultural heritage sites?

I am not over zealous, I only have 1 shed full of rocks for cutting.

Thumper 10:30 am 18 Jul 08

Nah, I was just pointing some things out 😉

I’d hate to see sites ruined by over zealous collectors.

Not that I think anyone here would be over zealous.

Skidbladnir 10:26 am 18 Jul 08

Is this going to be a long-argument between Thumper and peterh about on-paper protection for cultural heritage versus actual physical security of the sites?

Lets skip a few pages here, children.

When fighting against a non-zero chance to make a successful assault on a target and an infinite timeframe, the defender always loses. It just becomes a question how long until they lose, unless you’re willing to escalate the game to the point that attackers no longer bother.

peterh 10:12 am 18 Jul 08

Thumper said :

Also Durres is a protected Indigenous site, being that it is one huge midden.

So don’t take the artifacts kiddies, even though they strewn all around the place.

if you go around the headland, can’t remember what it is called, towards depot beach, there are heaps of fossils strewn around at the base of the cliff. Durras itself has some old sea caves – good for a bit of a look, but mainly used by incontinent kids, it really stinks in a couple of them.

Thumper 10:09 am 18 Jul 08

Also Durres is a protected Indigenous site, being that it is one huge midden.

So don’t take the artifacts kiddies, even though they strewn all around the place.

peterh 9:59 am 18 Jul 08

Thumper said :

Woolshed Creek silurian site is protected. It is on the Register of the National Estate

Itis unique, not only to Australian geologists and public, but also internationally as it is the first place in Australia where Silurian fossils were recognised and described.

The site is also excellent for illustrating special geological relationships and structures, including the disposition and numbers of the fossils and their relationships to the marine sedimentary rocks in which they were found.

So look but don’t touch 😉

nth durras has very good examples of bivalves and other shells, depot beach has petrified wood, caused by the big volcanic episode, pebbly beach is covered in semi precious pebbles. Agate, Carnelian and quartz and some others, I have even seen a piece of australian Jade, lighter than the asian varieties.

you will need a fossicking license for these sites, The rangers aren’t very understanding.

Thumper 8:08 am 18 Jul 08

Woolshed Creek silurian site is protected. It is on the Register of the National Estate

Itis unique, not only to Australian geologists and public, but also internationally as it is the first place in Australia where Silurian fossils were recognised and described.

The site is also excellent for illustrating special geological relationships and structures, including the disposition and numbers of the fossils and their relationships to the marine sedimentary rocks in which they were found.

So look but don’t touch 😉

peter@home 11:50 pm 17 Jul 08

ant said :

Woolshed Creek fossils are from teh same reef/source as my fossil! And yes, they’re there. Tehy put chicken wire over them many years ago. They stick up out of the creek bed.

Thanks, Peter@home, I’ll check that out. The flaws thing is interesting, didn’t consider that.

the same strata vein runs through to the gun club sites, the old pistol site has a dam that is full of shale, with trilobites in it – only good for collectors, not any good for cleaning up. London bridge has some interesting fossils too, I have seen a worm fossil, the segments are clearly visible, but it was lost in the fires. (rubble from the property included a very good mineral collection)

ant 11:09 pm 17 Jul 08

Woolshed Creek fossils are from teh same reef/source as my fossil! And yes, they’re there. Tehy put chicken wire over them many years ago. They stick up out of the creek bed.

Thanks, Peter@home, I’ll check that out. The flaws thing is interesting, didn’t consider that.

Deano 10:50 pm 17 Jul 08

There are apparently very good fossils in the rock in Woolshed Creek just next to the bridge on Fairbairn Ave. Its protected by a Heritage Order though.

More details are available here http://www.tams.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0018/13077/183.pdf

peter@home 10:34 pm 17 Jul 08

araluen was originally noted for gold deposits, but there are a couple of strange sites in and around canberra – ginninderra creek, near the wooden bridge, if it still stands, been a while, heading on the other side of the bridge towards holt, there are a few pieces of fools gold (pyrites) in the creek gravel – never thought to pan it for gold, but pyrites is usually found with gold.

Murrumbidgee corridor – opal, non precious.
there are several white quartz veins in road cuttings around canberra, interesting for the potential gold or crystals that may be there.

There are several sites in the nsw region, easy reach from canberra, these include:
Bredbo – the alluvial sand under the bridge has very small rubies, zircon, sapphires and traces of gold.
Wee Jasper – sapphires and quartz crystals
grabben gullen (really its name) – sapphires
abercrombie caves – gold and sapphires in the stream running out of the cave. Forget going in winter, you lose feeling in your toes just by putting them in the water.

the snow fields are out, kiandra was a gold area, but it is a national park now and off-limits…

peter@home 10:16 pm 17 Jul 08

ant said :

2 post nutbag… before this article slides off the end of the table (jeez riotact is busy now!), how do you drill holes in bits of rock? I’ve got various things I’d quite like to add to jewellery, but what tool do you use to make a hole through the stuff?

a diamond drill is quite good for your requirement, however, I would be inclined to call the lapidary club (you don’t need to join) & ask for their advice. They may have someone who works in beading, they could do the work for you. Sometimes they will ask for a fee, but most cases this is negligible. they may also be able to advise whether the item will withstand drilling, as some items will shatter if there are existing flaws in the stone, or the rock may not be sufficiently hard enough to drill.

ant 9:29 pm 17 Jul 08

2 post nutbag… before this article slides off the end of the table (jeez riotact is busy now!), how do you drill holes in bits of rock? I’ve got various things I’d quite like to add to jewellery, but what tool do you use to make a hole through the stuff?

ant 8:50 pm 17 Jul 08

There’s some good stuff in Canberra. years ago, we installed a possibly dodgy stand-alone dunny in the back paddock, and had to dig a massively deep hole for the poo to go in. I have a wonderful fossil from that, which is just like the cliff rocks at the south coast, with a sea shell imprint in it.

There’s quite a few gold areas around here too, Majors Creek and Captains Flat etc, just look at all the quartz rocks around.

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